The season of Flamingo

by Island Vibes

Every year, at this season, the famous migratory birds are transported to the appropriate areas and lagoons to spend the part of winter. In Greece we are lucky because there are places where someone can watch these beautiful birds and capture them (discreetly and carefully) with a camera.

We chose the lagoon of Lefkada, where the photographer Christos Stavrakas captured them and we present you the main details, peculiarities and characteristics of these beautiful birds.

The Lagoon of Lefkada is included in the Natura 2000 network, is one of the largest wetlands in Western Greece and is included in the list of Wetlands of International Importance in accordance with the Ramsar Convention.

The “Great Flamingo” (or pink palm) that visits the Lagoon of Lefkada, is one of 6 flamingo species and also lives in the wetlands of the Mediterranean coastal countries, Africa, the Indian subcontinent and the Middle East. It is 120-140 cm long and has a height of up to 187 cm, while life expectancy in nature is 33 years (up to 50 years in captivity). Like all flamingos it feeds mainly on shrimp, algae and aquatic plants.

Flamingo, Chris Stavrakas

General information about flamingos:

All species are monogamous. Females lay only one egg a year, which they place on top of a hill of soil. The parents thread it alternately, while both produce in their pharynx a very nutritious, red “milk”, with which they feed the chick the first two months of its life.

Flamingos, after leaving their nest, live together with many more, creating huge colonies. Although there may be more than 30,000 birds gathered together, the young flamingos only accept to be fed by their parents, who distinguish them from the singaths of their voice.

In terms of appearance, their feathers feature different shades of orange and pink. This is due to the pigments of the foods they consume, which contain caro-related pigments. It is one of the most elegant and characteristic birds of wetlands. The particularly hard skin and the height of their feet prevents burns. They can drink water at almost boiling temperature, from springs, hot jets and lakes. Remarkably, they sleep on one leg while the other remains alert to any enemies.

Flamingo, Chris Stavrakas

Flamingos prefer their quietness and privacy, so they choose as their place of residence inhospitable lakes with elevated levels of salt and sodium carbonate, where nothing grows and water is unsuitable for other animals. They have the ability to “filter” it through a gland system in their head, removing salt and expelling it from the nasal cavity. When they appear in the lake of the island, they are isolated in places far from land and the “indiscriminate” looks.

They can be captured remotely and with special effort and patience, by dedicated and animal photographers, while everyone else should respect their specificity and observe them discreetly and with respect to their particularities.

In conclusion, it should be noted that, in addition to the natural causes of their stillbirth, man is often to blame, either through waste and contamination of their natural environment, or when zoo officials attempts to capture them.

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